Measuring Up to the Model



Oregon

TOTAL SCORE:
129 out of 228

Rank: 27 out of 43

Year Charter School Law Was Enacted:  1999
Estimated Number of Public Charter Schools in 2013-14:  124
Estimated Number of Public Charter School Students in 2013-14:  29,718

Oregon made some modifications to its charter law this year.  As a result, its score increased from 120 points in 2013 to 129 points this year.  The score changed because of improvements in state policies for Component #6 (Transparent Charter Application, Review, and Decisionmaking Processes) and Component #10 (Educational Service Providers Allowed) and adjustments in our methodology for Component #4 (Authorizer and Overall Program Accountability System Required).  Its ranking went from #26 to #27.

Oregon’s law needs significant work on ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities.  The law also needs to provide additional authorizing options for charter applicants and begin to hold authorizers accountable for their work.

Do Oregon's laws align to the model law?

Model Law Component

Matches

Oregon's Charter Law

Score

1. No Caps

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Oregon law does not place any caps on charter school growth. However, the law provides that if more than 3% of students residing in a district are enrolled in virtual charter schools not sponsored by that district, any additional resident students must receive approval from the district before enrolling in a virtual charter school. The law provides for a state appeal if the district does not give approval in such cases.

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1A. No limits are placed on the number of public charter schools or students (and no geographic limits).

1B. If caps exist, adequate room for growth.

N/A

2. A Variety of Public Charter Schools Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Oregon law allows new start-ups, public school conversions, and virtual schools.

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2A. New start-ups.

2B. Public school conversions.

2C. Virtual schools.

3. Multiple Authorizers Available

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Oregon law provides that local school boards are the only authorizers of first resort. If a local school board denies a proposal, an applicant may appeal the decision of the local school board to the state board of education or submit a proposal to an institution of higher education. If one of these entities approves the application, it becomes the authorizer. There is some authorizing activity by local school boards but little activity by the other authorizing options.

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3A. The state allows two or more authorizing options (e.g., school districts and a state charter schools commission) for each applicant with direct application to each authorizer.

4. Authorizer & Overall Program Accountability System Required

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Oregon law includes a small number of the elements of the model law's authorizer and overall program accountability system.

While the law does not require the legislature and governor to regularly review the performance of the state board of education as an authorizer, they can do so at any time. In addition, the ability of the state board of education to continue authorizing can be removed by the legislature and governor (the entities that gave it that authority).

The law does not require at least a registration process for local school boards to affirm their interest in chartering to the state, does not require an application process for other eligible authorizing entities, does not require authorizer submission of annual report which summarizes the agency’s authorizing activities as well as the performance of its school portfolio, does not require a regular review process by authorizer oversight body of local school board and higher education authorizers, does not require authorizer oversight body with authority to sanction local school board and higher education authorizers including removal of authorizer right to approve schools, and does not require a periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

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4A. At least a registration process for local school boards to affirm their interest in chartering to the state.

4B. Application process for other eligible authorizing entities.

4C. Authorizer submission of annual report, which summarizes the agency’s authorizing activities as well as the performance of its school portfolio.

4D. A regular review process by authorizer oversight body.

4E. Authorizer oversight body with authority to sanction authorizers, including removal of authorizer right to approve schools.

4F. Periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

5. Adequate Authorizer Funding

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Oregon law allows authorizers to retain a significant portion of charter school per-pupil funding, typically 20% for K-8 schools and 5% for high schools. The law does not mandate that these retained funds be spent on oversight, but that was the legislative intent.

The law does not require authorizers to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures, does not require a separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school, and does not prohibit authorizers from requiring schools to purchase services from them.

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5A. Adequate funding from authorizing fees (or other sources).

5B. Guaranteed funding from authorizing fees (or from sources not subject to annual legislative appropriations).

5C. Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.

5D. Separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school.

5E. Prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase services from them.

6. Transparent Charter Application, Review, and Decisionmaking Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Oregon law sets forth a nonexclusive list of general requirements for the minimum content of charter school proposals and explicitly permits local school boards to require additional relevant information. The law includes additional application elements specific to conversion schools and to virtual schools.

As part of the criteria that local school boards must use to evaluate a proposal, the law requires them to examine the prior history, if any, of the applicant in operating a public charter school or in providing educational services.

The law requires a public hearing but not an in-person interview as part of the application review process. It also does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals.

The law requires authorizers to make charter approval and denial decisions in an open meeting and to state reasons for denial in writing.

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6A. Application elements for all schools.

6B. Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

6C. Additional application elements specific to virtual schools.

6D. Additional application elements specific when using educational service providers.

6E. Additional application elements specific to replications.

6F. Authorizer-issued request for proposals (including application requirements and approval criteria).

6G. Thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

6H. All charter approval or denial decisions made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

7. Performance-Based Charter Contracts Required

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Oregon law requires the execution of a legally binding “charter” that is separate from the charter proposal. It provides that the charter is based on the proposal, but that the authorizer and the charter governing body may agree to change or exclude elements in developing the charter.

The law does not require charter contracts to define the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer and to define academic and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged based on a performance framework.

Oregon law provides that an initial charter term may not exceed five years.

The law requires contracts to include specific provisions addressing the unique environments of virtual charter schools.

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7A. Being created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer.

7B. Defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.

7C. Defining academic and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged, based on a performance framework that includes measures and metrics for, at a minimum, student academic proficiency and growth, achievement gaps, attendance, recurrent enrollment, postsecondary readiness (high schools), financial performance, and board stewardship (including compliance).

7D. Providing an initial term of five operating years (or a longer term with periodic high-stakes reviews.

7E. Including requirements addressing the unique environments of virtual schools, if applicable.

8. Comprehensive Charter School Monitoring and Data Collection Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Oregon law requires each authorizer or authorizer’s designee to visit the charter school at least annually to review the school’s compliance with the terms of its charter.

The law requires charter schools to have sound financial management systems, including a budget and accounting system that is compatible with the authorizing district and meets requirements of the uniform budget and accounting system adopted by the state board of education. It also requires each charter school to have an annual financial audit prepared in accordance with the Municipal Audit Law, which must be submitted to the authorizer, the state board of education, and the state department of education.

Oregon law requires each public charter school to report to its authorizer and the state board of education at least annually on the performance of the school and its student, and on the school’s legal compliance.

If the grounds for termination of a charter contract include failure to maintain a sound financial management system, the law allows the authorizer and the school o agree to develop a plan to correct deficiencies. The law allows the authorizer to withhold up to 50 percent of the moneys owed to the public charter school while the public charter school is on the plan to correct deficiencies unless the withholding would create an undue hardship, as determined pursuant to rules of the state board of education.

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8A. The collection and analysis of student outcome data at least annually by authorizers (consistent with performance framework outlined in the contract).

8B. Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).

8C. Authorizer authority to conduct or require oversight activities.

8D. Annual school performance reports which are made public.

8E. Authorizer notification to their schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.

8F. Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.

9. Clear Processes for Renewal, Nonrenewal, and Revocation Decisions

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Oregon law provides that charter schools seeking renewal must submit a renewal request to their authorizer, and the authorizer must hold a public hearing and then either grant or deny the renewal within a specified timeline after the public hearing. The law and regulations specify a timeline for the renewal decision-making process but also allow a charter school and authorizer to agree to a different timeline.

The law and regulations state the general criteria upon which authorizers are to base renewal, non-renewal, and revocation decisions. Regulations require authorizers to base renewal evaluation primarily on review of charter school annual performance reports, annual audits, annual site visits and review, and any other information mutually agreed upon.

Oregon law provides that the first renewal of a charter must be for the same duration as the initial charter and that subsequent renewals must be for a minimum of five years but may not exceed 10 years.

Regulations provide for a public hearing prior to a renewal or non-renewal decision. In the event of a non-renewal decision, regulations allow the school to submit a revised renewal request and appeal to the state board of education. They also require an authorizer to state in writing the reasons for non-renewal, and make renewal, non-renewal and revocation decisions subject to open-meetings requirements.

Oregon law requires an authorizer to provide at least 60 days’ notice to a charter school prior to revocation of a charter (which can be waived in case of an emergency), provide a public hearing upon request of the school, and state in writing the reasons for revocation. It also allows a charter school to appeal a revocation decision to the state board of education.

Regulations state generally how the assets of a closed charter school shall be distributed. However, they do not require authorizers to have school closure protocols as recommended in the model law.

The law does not require authorizers to issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year and to issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.

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9A. Authorizer must issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year.

9B. Schools seeking renewal must apply for it.

9C. Authorizers must issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.

9D. Clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.

9E. Authorizers must ground renewal decisions based on evidence regarding the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract (in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract).

9F. Authorizer authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.

9G. Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or non-renewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.

9H. Authorizers must provide charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions (e.g., public hearing, submission of evidence).

9I. All charter renewal, non-renewal, and revocation decisions made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for non-renewals and revocations in writing.

9J. Authorizers must have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.

10. Educational Service Providers (ESPs) Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Oregon law provides that if a charter school chooses to contract with a for-profit management organization, the school must maintain a right of control over the contractor and provide procedural safeguards to affected members of the public in relation to those aspects of the school’s operations that constitute the governmental function of providing a public education. The law does not contain similar requirements for schools that contract with non-profit providers.

As part of the criteria that local school boards must use to evaluate a proposal, the law requires them to examine the prior history, if any, of the applicant in operating a public charter school or in providing educational services.

The law provides some conflict-of-interest provisions for virtual charter schools, but these do not apply to the rest of Oregon’s charter schools.

The law does not require the authorizer to approve the material terms of the school’s performance contract with an educational service provider prior to charter approval.

4

10A. All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and non-profit) explicitly allowed to operate all or parts of schools.

10B. The charter application requires 1) performance data for all current and past schools operated by the ESP, including documentation of academic achievement and (if applicable) school management success; and 2) explanation and evidence of the ESP’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.

10C. A performance contract is required between the independent public charter school board and the ESP, setting forth material terms including but not limited to: performance evaluation measures; methods of contract oversight and enforcement by the charter school board; compensation structure and all fees to be paid to the ESP; and conditions for contract renewal and termination.

10D. The material terms of the ESP performance contract must be approved by the authorizer prior to charter approval.

10E. School governing boards operating as entities completely independent of any educational service provider (e.g., must retain independent oversight authority of their charter schools, and cannot give away their authority via contract).

10F. Existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities are required to be disclosed and explained in the charter application.

11. Fiscally and Legally Autonomous Schools with Independent Public Charter School Boards

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Oregon law explicitly provides for fiscal and legal autonomy and requires each charter school to be established as a nonprofit corporation with its own governing board.

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11A. Fiscally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to receive and disburse funds, incur debt, and pledge, assign or encumber assets as collateral).

11B. Legally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to enter into contracts and leases, sue and be sued in their own names, and acquire real property).

11C. School governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

12. Clear Student Recruitment, Enrollment, and Lottery Procedures

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

For non-virtual charter schools, the law gives charter school enrollment preference to students residing in the district where the charter school is or will be located. If the number of applications from resident students exceeds the school’s capacity, the law requires an equitable lottery to select students. If space permits, non-resident students may enroll.

The law states that if more than 3% of students residing in a district are enrolled in virtual charter schools not sponsored by that district, any additional resident students must receive approval from the district before enrolling in a virtual charter school. The law provides for a state appeal if the district does not give approval in such cases.

The law allows limited enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students in conversions, and, after a new-start school’s first year, for prior-year students and for siblings. The law does not provide for a preference for children of founders, board members and staff.

4

12A. Open enrollment to any student in the state.

12B. Lottery requirements.

12C. Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school.

12D. Optional enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

13. Automatic Exemptions from Many State and District Laws and Regulations

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Oregon law provides that charter schools are automatically exempt from statutes and rules that apply only to school districts and district schools, except as provided for in the charter law and the school’s charter.

Oregon law provides that at least one-half of a charter school’s teachers must be licensed by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) and that the non-licensed staff must be registered by TSPC.

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13A. Exemptions from all laws, except those covering health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles.

13B. Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

14. Automatic Collective Bargaining Exemption

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Oregon law provides that charter schools are exempt from district collective bargaining agreements and personnel policies, though they may participate in a district bargaining unit by choice or organize separately.

12

14A. Charter schools authorized by non-local board authorizers are exempt from participation in any outside collective bargaining agreements.

14B. Charter schools authorized by local boards are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

15. Multischool Charter Contracts and/or Multicharter Contract Boards Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Oregon law is silent regarding these arrangements.

2

15A. Oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

15B. Hold multiple charter contracts with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

16. Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities Eligibility and Access

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

Oregon law is silent regarding charter eligibility and access.

1

16A. Laws or regulations explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all interscholastic leagues, competitions, awards, scholarships, and recognition programs available to non-charter public school students and employees.

16B. Laws or regulations explicitly allow charter school students in schools not providing extra-curricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at non-charter public schools for a fee by a mutual agreement.

17. Clear Identification of Special Education Responsibilities

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Oregon law provides that responsibility for providing special education services resides with the school district in which a charter school is located and provides that the district of location is eligible to receive high-cost disabilities grants for charter school students from the state as provided by state law.

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17A. Clarity regarding which entity is the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing special education services.

17B. Clarity regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools (in the same amount and/or in a manner similar to other LEAs).

18. Equitable Operational Funding and Equal Access to All State and Federal Categorical Funding

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Oregon law provides that per-pupil funding for charter schools is 80% of the weighted Average Daily Maintenance (ADMw) funding formula for students in grades K-8 and 95% of ADMw for students in grades 9-12. The ADMw formula assumes that a charter school serves the same percentage of students in poverty as the district in which it is located.

Oregon law provides that special education funds go to the LEA of residence and establishes the minimum percentages of funds the resident district provides to the charter school.

According to a 2010 analysis, charter schools in Oregon receive only 55.7% of the funding per student that districts receive to serve the students in traditional district schools.

0

18A. Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.

18B. Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding, and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.

18C. Funding for transportation similar to school districts.

19. Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Oregon law provides that charter schools are eligible for bonds from the Oregon Facilities Authority.

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19A. A per-pupil facilities allowance which annually reflects actual average district capital costs.

19B. A state grant program for charter school facilities.

19C. A state loan program for charter school facilities.

19D. Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allow charter schools to have their own bonding authority.

19E. A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for public charter school facilities.

19F. Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to non-charter public schools.

19G. Right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed, unused, or underused public school facility or property.

19H. Prohibition of facility-related requirements stricter than those applied to traditional public schools.

20. Access to Relevant Employee Retirement Systems

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Oregon law provides that all charter school employees must participate in the state retirement system.

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20A. Charter schools have access to relevant state retirement systems available to other public schools.

20B. Charter schools have the option to participate (i.e., not required).